‘It will be as different as night from day’, is how Senator John Kerry described the impact of Barack Obama’s election victory on America’s stance in international climate politics. Kerry made this prediction in December 2008 at the fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-14) to the UN climate convention in Poznan, Poland, which he attended on behalf of the President-elect. For a short while, the imminent political change in the White House seemed to lift the otherwise downbeat mood among delegates in Poznan, and a renewed sense of optimism set in about reaching compromise on a new climate deal by the end of 2009, at COP-15 in Copenhagen.

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